Congressman. Born Thomas Dale DeLay on April 8, 1947 in Laredo, Texas. DeLay spent two years as a pre-med student at Baylor University before he was expelled for drinking and vandalism. After graduating from the University of Houston in 1970, he ran a pest control company before entering the political arena.
In 1978, DeLay won the election for an open seat in the Texas House of Representatives. A conservative Republican, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas’s 22nd district in 1984. He was appointed Deputy Minority Whip in 1988, elected House Majority Whip in 1995, and was a driving force behind the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998. In 2002, DeLay was elected House Majority Leader and is credited with uniting House Republicans in support of President George W. Bush’s agenda.
In 2005, a Texas grand jury indicted DeLay on criminal charges that he had conspired to violate campaign finance laws. DeLay reportedly sought donations to his political action committee from Enron and other corporations to help bankroll the redistricting of Texas to favor the election of more Republicans. DeLay denied the charges but was forced to resign from his position as Majority Leader. During this time, two of DeLay’s former aides were convicted in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal.
DeLay ran for re-election in 2006, winning the Republican primary. However, he withdrew from the race and resigned his seat in Congress a month later. DeLay married Christine Furrh in 1967. They have a daughter, Danielle.
After a three-week trial, a Texas jury returned a guilty verdict against former representative Tom DeLay on one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He had served in House for more than 20 years and was the major leader for a time.
Responding to the verdict, DeLay said “It’s a miscarriage of justice. I still maintain my innocence.” The charges back to 2002 when DeLay and two associates reportedly tried to get around the Texas law that prohibits corporations from donating to political candidates. They used the National Republican Committee to move $190,000 from corporate donors into the campaign funds of Republican state candidates.
Sentencing for DeLay is scheduled for December. For money laundering, he may receive a 5-to-99-year prison term. DeLay also faces a 2-to-20-year sentence for the conspiracy charge. He is expected to appeal these convictions.
DeLay had previously been rebuked by the House Ethics Committee in 2004. Two years later, he resigned from the House during a federal investigation related to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Two of DeLay’s aides pled guilty in that case, but no charges were ever filed against DeLay.